Speaking to L’Équipe on the red carpet of the Ballon d’Or ceremony, Lyon president Jean Michel-Aulas spoke of his immense pride at seeing former Lyon player Karim Benzema win the Ballon d’Or in Paris. The 73-year-old said the following, as transcribed by L’Équipe: 

“It’s a great source of pride and emotion, because Karim is a kid from OL. He is a child that we have seen grow up and that we have seen blossom. We have seen him succeed in almost everything he has undertaken. And for us, who not only hired him, but also signed his first contracts with us, we are proud. It’s a source of pride with a message, that of exemplarity, because having a youngster like Karim who only plays for two clubs in his entire career..”

“He chose Real Madrid, because I remember him telling me: there were several offers, but I would really like to go to Real Madrid. It’s a beautiful story, that of a young man from an immigrant background who is doing extremely well in France. He is Franco-Algerian. Beyond his life as a footballer, he is succeeding as a man who is exemplary for all the young people who admire what he has done and who are eager to be like him.”

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